FEE – Since he published his bestselling book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Steven Pinker has been criticized for excessive optimism.
Writing for Open Democracy, Jeremy Lent argues that Pinker is insufficiently concerned about depletion of the planet’s natural resources, including freshwater reserves. He faults the Harvard University psychologist for embracing a “neoliberal, technocratic belief that a combination of market-based solutions and technological fixes will magically resolve all ecological problems.”
The problem with Lent’s argument is that technological fixes and market-based solutions really are an important part of humanity’s efforts to overcome environmental challenges. If you’re unconvinced, just look at Israel’s desalination efforts.
Progress Isn’t Magic, but It’s Close
Lent notes some worrying environmental trends, including “the rise in CO2 emissions; the decline in available freshwater; and the increase in the number of ocean dead zones from artificial fertilizer runoff.”
Pinker does not deny the existence of these challenges. “Progress,” he writes, Click here to read more.